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247 Attlee to Curtin

Circular cablegram D439 LONDON, 19 July 1943, 2.30 p.m.


Our efforts to damage the German war effort by promoting
resistance and sabotage inside Austria have hitherto been hampered
by the absence of a declared policy as regards future of the
latter country.

2. With the changed circumstances of the war we consider that the
prospects of actively encouraging resistance inside Austria have
greatly improved provided that we can, in conjunction with the
United States and the Soviet Union, give the Austrian people a
guarantee that they will not be unduly penalised for the past
misdeeds of their country and that they will be given political
and economic support and encouragement after the conclusion of

3. We accordingly propose to adopt the following basic principles
in this connection:

(a) The first step to the encouragement and maintenance of
Austrian resistance to domination by Germany must be the
recreation of an independent Austrian state. In the absence of an
Austrian Government in exile and of any pronounced Austrian
national sentiment this step will need careful planning and

(b) Once restored, an independent Austria must, from the start, be
given preferential treatment as compared with Germany. To enable
Austria to survive, the United Nations must avoid penalising her
for past misdeeds and afford her sustained support and
encouragement both in the economic and political field. If this
responsibility is not shouldered Austria will almost inevitably
return in the end to the German fold.

(c) The best chance of maintaining Austrian independence probably
lies in her ultimate association with some form of central or
south eastern European confederation subject, of course, to the
manner in which such a federation might evolve and to the wishes
of the component partners.

(d) Any plans for relief and reconstruction in the central and
south eastern European area should now include Austria within
their scope and it should be possible so to direct her internal
reconstruction that subsequent inclusion in a federation would
represent a fulfilment and not a reversal of the policy pursued in
the interim.

4. We propose to consult the United States and Soviet Governments
with a view to securing their agreement to the policy described
and we hope that in due course it may be possible to issue an
agreed declaration promising a free and independent Austria with
suitable political and economic safeguards.

5. A paper dealing with the matter in detail is being sent to you
by mail. [1]

1 See circular dispatch D67 of 8 August on file AA:A1608, P41/1/3,

[AA:A989, E44/85/2/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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